L. Frank Baum’s Abderdeen Oz was a baseball diamond

From Bernie Hunhoff at South Dakota Magazine on April 24, 2014:

Beside the immigrant drawn by free homestead land, the other “typical” settler on the Dakota frontier of 1888 was young, restless and looking to escape the maddening crowd back east. Lyman Frank Baum was the second type.

Baum found room to breathe in Aberdeen. He opened Baum’s Bazaar, and stocked it with the non-essentials of life: fancy goods, sporting equipment, toys and amateur photography supplies, among other novelties. With creative advertisements that hinted at his hitherto hidden literary talent, he pulled his customers in:

At Baum’s Bazaar you’ll find by far
The finest goods in town
The cheapest, too, as you’ll find true
If you’ll just step around

Baum believed Aberdeen would embrace such a business, for it was no one-horse prairie pothole. The Hub City was progressive — there were 20 hotels, a library, four restaurants and a half-dozen newspapers in town. Electric light service and telephones were available. With the addition of Baum’s store, Aberdeen had everything a civilized town might want or need.

Except a baseball team. An ardent “crank,” as baseball fans were then known, Baum felt the lack keenly. Less than a year after he arrived in Aberdeen, L. Frank Baum helped bring a group of local businessmen together to field a team. They were so impressed with his enthusiasm and ideas they made him secretary, responsible for the club’s day-to-day affairs. A subscription of 300 shares sold out quickly, and the Hub City Nine were on their way.

Read the full article here: http://southdakotamagazine.com/baum-baseball

Originally published: April 24, 2014. Last Updated: April 24, 2014.